2014 Lakewoodi Eesti Maja Jaanipäev/Mid-Summer Night’s Celebration

MidsummerNightBonfire2

The 2014 Lakewoodi Eesti Maja Jaanipäev/Mid-Summer Night’s Celebration will be held on

Saturday,  21 June 2014

Time:  4:00 pm to 2:00 am

Admission Fees: Members – $10.00

Non-Members – $15.00

BBQ at the outside bar area

Enjoy the sounds of the band Belmar Boulevard

 

History:

St John’s Eve (Jaaniõhtu, also Jaanilaupäev) and St John’s Day (Jaanipäev) are the most important days in the Estonian calendar, apart from Christmas. The short summer seasons with long days and brief nights hold special significance for the people of Estonia. Jaanipäev is celebrated in the night between June 23 and 24, a few days after the summer solstice, when night seems to be non-existent.

For Estonians, Jaanipäev celebrations were merged with the celebration of Võidupüha (Victory Day) during the War of Independence when Estonian forces defeated the German troops on 23 June 1919. After this battle against Estonia’s traditional oppressors, Jaaniõhtu and the lighting of the traditional bonfires became linked with the ideals of independence and freedom.

Jaanipäev marks a change in the farming year, specifically the break between the completion of spring sowing and the hard work of summer hay-making.

On Jaaniõhtu, Estonians all around the country will gather with their families, or at larger events to celebrate this important day with singing and dancing, as Estonians have done for centuries.

Understandably, some of the rituals of Jaanipäev have very strong folkloric roots. The best-known Jaanik, or midsummer, ritual is the lighting of the bonfire and then jumping over it. This is seen as a way of guaranteeing prosperity and avoiding bad luck. Likewise, to not light the fire is to invite the destruction of your house by fire. The fire also frightened away mischievous spirits who avoided it at all costs, thus ensuring a good harvest. So, the bigger the fire, the further the mischievous spirits stayed away.

 

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